Coronavirus: latest developments worldwide

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Shortage of masks, cancelled attendances at major trade shows, restricted access to cruise ships... here are the developments from around the world on the coronavirus over the past 24 hours.

722 dead

In mainland China 34,546 people have been infected, of whom 722 have died, according to official figures. In the past 24 hours there have been 86 deaths, the highest one-day jump so far. On Thursday the first foreign victim died—a US citizen in Wuhan.

Outside mainland China, Hong Kong and Macao, more than 320 cases of the virus have been confirmed in nearly 30 countries. Five new cases have been confirmed in France, according to authorities.

Missing link: a pangolin?

Chinese researchers looking at how the virus spread say the endangered pangolin, also known as the scaly anteater, may be the "missing link" between bats and humans.

After testing more than 1,000 samples from wild animals, scientists have found the genome sequences of viruses in pangolins to be 99 percent identical to those on coronavirus patients.

Mask shortage

The World Health Organization's chief warns that the world is running out of masks and other against the coronavirus.

Foxconn, the world's biggest contract electronics maker, announces it will start manufacturing surgical face masks alongside Apple products at its Shenzhen factory.

International jitters

Washington offers up to $100 million to China and other impacted countries to combat the virus. President Donald Trump praises China's response as "very professional".

Swedish telecommunications equipment provider Ericsson says it will skip a major mobile trade show taking place later in February because "the health and safety of employees and customers cannot be ensured".

It is the second major firm to withdraw from the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona—the mobile phone industry's biggest annual event—after South Korea's LG already said it would not attend.

Several Chinese groups, such as ZTE and Huawei, say they will take precautionary measures and limit their presence at the event.

Hong Kong quarantine

Hong Kong begins enforcing a mandatory two-week quarantine for anyone arriving from mainland China, with up to six months in prison for those found in breach of the isolation period.

The city has 26 confirmed cases.

The cruise industry tightens conditions for admission to liners, denying boarding to passengers and crew who have travelled in the past fortnight to Hong Kong and Macau, extended from just mainland China.

© 2020 AFP

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